Today: April 11, 2024

The KAOS Brief

Sci-Fi London may be celebrating its seventeenth year, but the geekiest festival in town hasn’t let age wither its infinite variety. This year’s offerings were the usual eclectic mix of indie, quirky, cult, and off-radar films that really need to be seen on the big screen.

One of the films celebrating its European Premier at this year’s festival was The KAOS Brief which, although a relative newcomer to the festival circuit, has already been generating something of a buzz.

Aspiring vlogger Skylar (Drew Lipson), his boyfriend Corey (Marco DelVecchio), sister Dakota (Charlie Morgan) and her boyfriend Tren (Akanimo Eyo), set off for a weekend getaway. Things quickly get weird but it’s only once the crew are back in civilisation that they realise that the weird knows where they live.

Director JP Mandarino:
“I started thinking what sort of budget-conscious film could I do that hasn’t been done and there’s been a lot found footage films but nothing that I really liked or resonated for me. So I stared thinking about the social media and pop culture angle. That, along with the hack-tivists element and the vlogging hadn’t been done… and that was sort of the genesis.”

Found footage is genre that’s hugely popular but extremely tricky to get just right. Fortunately, The KAOS Brief hits all the right notes in the right order.

Thanks to its innovative use of iPhones, laptops, drones, and handheld cameras – and with actors controlling and filming much of what you see on screen – the action feels immediate and personal. The storyline gives nods to both The X Files and Blair Witch but remains fresh and intriguing.

JP, who also wrote the script, actually used real-life accounts of alien encounters to put the meat on the bones of the story. The result is a believable, slow-burn drama.

However it’s the actors who really sell this tale of spiralling terror. Drew Lipson is wonderfully, cringe-makingly believable as the self-obsessed vlogger. Marco and Akanimo are perfect as the reliable foils to the feuding siblings. While Charlie Morgan pulls off a scene that is not only one of the standout moments of the film but is guaranteed to give you the night terrors.

It’s also worth mentioning that although half the characters are gay, The KAOS Brief is never an issues film – and that’s to be applauded. “I didn’t want“, says JP,  “to make a gay film that has some science fiction elements. I just wanted it to be an enjoyable film to watch that was science fiction, had some thriller aspects, and had gay characters. We’re in the 21st Century; what’s the big deal, right?”

With The KAOS Brief, JP Mandarino set out to bring something new to the world of found footage. Has he succeeded? Only time will tell. But for those who already love what they’ve seen, here’s the big news. The KAOS Brief was planned as a trilogy. So “Hey Guys!” – as Skylar might say – watch this space.

For more information visit: or tweet @TheKoasBrief and #TheKaosBrief

Paula Hammond - Features Editor

Paula Hammond is a full-time, freelance journalist. She regularly writes for more magazines than is healthy and has over 25 books to her credit. When not frantically scribbling, she can be found indulging her passions for film, theatre, cult TV, sci-fi and real ale. If you should spot her in the pub, after five rounds rapid, she’ll be the one in the corner mumbling Ghostbusters quotes and waiting for the transporter to lock on to her signal… Email:

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